Little Rock to Amarillo Road Trip Guide

Introduction

Little Rock is a moderately-sized city located near the center of Arkansas. As the state capital, Little Rock is a busy social, cultural, economic and governmental hub for this great state. When visiting any state's capital city a visit to the capitol building is usually a good idea. The capitol building in Little Rock does not disappoint. This stately, 24-caret-gold topped building was originally constructed in 1899 and currently houses many interesting artifacts related to the region.

For a great day of shopping try heading over to the River Market. This area along the banks of the river has recently undergone a complete renovation and revitalization. Along with a host of shops, there is the Ottenheimer Market Hall which is a building set up with traditional vendor stalls. Here you can pick up some great food with many international selections available. You can also stop in and pick up some souvenirs at Little Rock's official souvenir store, Shop The Rock. From May – September, there is a great farmers market in the outdoor pavilions of the market. It is open from 7 am to 3 pm every Saturday. This is the perfect place to pick up some fresh supplies for your trip to Amarillo.

Less than a half-mile from the market you will find the William J Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. This facility houses exhibits and artifacts related to the two terms of our 42nd president as well information on he and his wife's lives and legacy. It provides very interesting insights into the world during the 1990s and is a great stop for anyone interested in presidential history, or history in general.

The other major historical site worth a visit here is The Old State House. Originally built in 1833, the building is now listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. It houses a museum that focuses on the history of Arkansas with many great permanent and rotating exhibits.

To access all these great sites, try the Downtown Riverside RV Park. This unique RV park is literally located across the river from most of the major downtown attractions. This is one of the few RV parks in the nation where you can camp beneath the city skyline in a safe, quiet environment.

Traveling to Amarillo couldn't be easier. Simply hop on I-40 west, which will take you straight to Amarillo. I-40 through this region is generally flat and straight, an exceptionally easy drive regardless of the vehicle you are traveling in.

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Details

60'
Max RV length
60'
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 2-3 days
Recommend rig: any
audience: family

Point of Interest

Ozark National Forest/Long Pool Recreation Area

After leaving Little Rock, I-40 traverses large swaths of rural areas as it heads west toward Oklahoma City. Much of that rural area on the north side of I-40 in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma is dedicated to the massive Ozark National Forest. This area is an absolutely beautiful swath of central America spread across the Ozark Mountains.

Like most national parks and national forests, there are a lot of great outdoor activities to do here. Hiking, biking, paddling, bird and animal watching, camping, ORVing, horseback riding, and more are all here. One of the best sections of the forest to visit is the Long Pool Recreation Area. There are 20 RV campsites here with water and electric, and several more primitive camping sites. Running through the area is the Big Piney Creek which provides a large pool by the campground for swimming. It also runs down several waterfalls which can be visited by day hike, and there are calmer areas for paddling by kayak or canoe. This area provides a great window into the Ozark ecosystem and never disappoints in the natural beauty department.


Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is the second capital city along our route to Amarillo. As the capital of Oklahoma, it is also a city that is rich in culture and history. This city has a history of being on the crossroads of many significant migrations throughout US history. This includes cowboys moving cattle from the south and west to the east as well as a large number of travelers passing through or migrating along Route 66. This has left an indelible mark on the area which can still be seen there today.

To explore the cowboy legacy of the area, a visit to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is a must-do. This outstanding museum looks at the history and legacy of the cowboy lifestyle in this area and points south and west. The collection of cowboy and western art and artifacts housed here is one of the largest and best anywhere in the world.

The other major attraction in Oklahoma City brought about by its central location is the outstanding food scene. Of course, BBQ is huge here, another legacy of the cowboy influence and its role in the cattle industry. There are several great BBQ places in town including Iron Star Urban BBQ, Leo's BBQ, and Bedlam Bar-B-Q. The BBQ here is more about the cooking methods than any particular type of meat. Beef, pork, and chicken are common menu items and they are all equally delicious.

The great food here is not limited to BBQ. You can have a craving for just about anything fulfilled here by one of the many first-rate restaurants in the area. Burgers, Sushi, Pho, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, German, Italian, and even some great Irish pubs can all be found here. This broad diversity makes Oklahoma City one of the best foodie destinations in the US.

Oklahoma City East KOA Holiday provides a convenient place to stay. It is located off of I-40 on the east side of town. The park has some great amenities and is only 20 minutes from the heart of downtown Oklahoma City.


Oklahoma Route 66 Museum

Route 66 is an iconic American highway completed in 1926 as part of the US highway system. The original route ran from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA and it was the primary path for people to migrate from the eastern US to the west coast. The much more modern I-40 has replaced much of the original Route 66, with fragments remaining mainly within the city limits the road passed through. The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum captures the nostalgia of Route 66 and presents its history and significance as it related to major historical time periods in the US like the Big Band Era, The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, WWII, and the rise of the over the road trucking industry. There is even a replica of roadside diner you can visit.

For an overnight stay, try the Hargus RV Park. It is conveniently located in Clinton, OK just off of I-40 and only six minutes from the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum.


Summary

Amarillo, TX is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle. There are several great things to do here starting with the nearby Palo Duro Canyon State Park. This is a stunning area that can be explored on foot via a vast array of hiking trails.

If you work up a Texas-sized appetite while you are out hiking then stop in at the The Big Texan Steak Ranch & Brewery. This iconic and restaurant is located just off I-40 and is about as Texas as a Texas steakhouse can get. They are famous for their giant 72 oz. steak-eating challenge so no matter how hungry you are, they have a steak for you. So famous in fact, they have been featured in a number of movies and TV shows over the years including Waking up in Reno, Man Vs Food, and Fast-n-Loud. The Tex Dinoco character in the animated feature Cars was inspired by their white stretch limos which will come get you and bring you in to dine if you request. The food, atmosphere, and service here are all outstanding. No trip to Amarillo is complete without stopping here.

There is a major modern art sculpture here with a huge cult following. Cadillac Ranch features 10 late model Cadillacs half-buried nose down in a farm field just off the eastbound side of I-40 a few miles west of the city. You can park on the road that runs parallel to I-40 and walk in to see it. It's a tradition to bring your own spray paint so you can make your own contribution to this ever-changing work. Simply walk up, and paint away. This is a pretty heavily traveled site so the field is bare dirt. When it rains, it gets muddy and the flatness of the area doesn't allow the water to run off very quickly. If it has rained within a couple of days of your visit make sure you wear appropriate shoes.

With the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum on the itinerary, a stop in the Amarillo Route 66 District may also be in order. The district is set along a mile-long stretch of the original road in downtown Amarillo. Here you'll find the same lively vibe which would have been present during the hay day of the road. There are many shops, art boutiques, restaurants, and live entertainment events which you can visit.

Oasis RV Resort is the best place to stay in Amarillo. It is located just off of I-40 on the west side of town. Located among the broad farm fields in the area it is truly an oasis in the area, isolating you in a quiet spot only a couple miles from town. They have several brand new cottages available so no RV is required to stay here. They also have a nice pool area, hot tub and play equipment for kids. If you sit out on a nice warm day you'll likely see V-22 Ospreys fly by as the assembly plant that puts them together is located nearby.

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